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Postdoctoral Research Scientist-Horticulture/Plant Science

Penn State University
University Park, PA
Closing date
Feb 14, 2024

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Science, Life Sciences, Ecology, Plant Science
Organization Type
  • CURRENT PENN STATE EMPLOYEE (faculty, staff, technical service, or student), please login to Workday to complete the internal application process. Please do not apply here, apply internally through Workday.
  • CURRENT PENN STATE STUDENT (not employed previously at the university) and seeking employment with Penn State, please login to Workday to complete the student application process. Please do not apply here, apply internally through Workday.
  • If you are NOT a current employee or student, please click "Apply" and complete the application process for external applicants.

Penn State's Department of Plant Science ( is seeking a highly motivated Postdoctoral Scholar to conduct research and Extension activities on Anaerobic Soil Disinfestation (ASD) within the framework of a collaborative interdisciplinary project funded by the USDA-NIFA OREI program and investigating the use of ASD for Enhancing and Advancing the Sustainability of Organic Crop Production.

Using agronomic and laboratory procedures for soil and plant analysis, the primary goal of the research will be to optimize and evaluate opportunities for integrating ASD in organic vegetable and strawberry crop systems and assess the short- and long-term impact of ASD on nutrient dynamics, soil ecology/microbiology, soilborne pests and pathogens, soil health, crop physiology and yield and quality performance.

The candidate will be supervised by Dr. Francesco Di Gioia and will be working with an interdisciplinary team of researchers with expertise in horticulture, soil microbiology, plant pathology, nematology, biogeochemistry, ecosystem science and management, and agricultural economics.

Location: Primary work location will be Penn State, University Park located at State College, in Central Pennsylvania.

Education and Experience: Applicants are required to have a Ph.D. or equivalent doctorate in Horticultural Science, Plant Science, or closely related field(s). Applicants must be able to provide evidence that all requirements have been met for completion of the Ph.D. and pass standard background checks prior to the effective date of hire. This position requires excellent written and verbal communication skills. The profile of the successful candidate for this position includes:
  • Strong background and research experience on organic/sustainable vegetable/strawberry crop production, plant nutrition and physiology, sustainable soil management practices, cover crops, management of soilborne pests and pathogens, soil health and microbiology, crop yield and quality.
  • Strong quantitative and qualitative skills in fields related to plant science, plant physiology, plant nutrition, soil health, soilborne pests and pathogens, and vegetable/strawberry quality.
  • Ability to formulate research hypothesis, design, and conduct experiments on organic vegetable and strawberry crop systems in open field, greenhouse, and/or protected cultivation systems, collect, interpret, and summarize data, and solve research issues.
  • Experience with laboratory procedures for the analysis of soil and plant samples using colorimetric/spectrophotometric/fluorescence assays and experience operating HPLC equipment.
  • Ability to use software, define and execute procedures for plant mineral and phytochemical analysis, image analysis, environmental monitoring, and statistical analysis.
  • Ability to collaborate effectively with members of an interdisciplinary research team and ability to drive and travel within the state of Pennsylvania to work with Extension educators and grower cooperators.
  • Interest in mentoring students and conducting Extension and outreach activities.
  • A strong record of peer-reviewed publication.
Initially, this term appointment is funded for one year from the date of hire with the option of reappointment for additional years conditional on satisfactory performance and the availability of funds. This position includes competitive salary and benefits.

Application Requirements: Application review will begin immediately, and the position will remain open until a suitable candidate is identified. Candidates must provide the following pdf documents:
  • a statement of research interest detailing scientific interests, qualifications and specific interest for the position, future goals, and preferred start date
  • curriculum vitae
  • three letters of reference or the contact information for minimum three references (name, position, telephone number, and e-mail address)
  • one or two representative publications.

Applicants should preferably combine these documents into a single pdf (titled "lastname_postdoc2023.pdf") and upload it in Workday. For additional information about this position, please contact Dr. Francesco Di Gioia (

The Pennsylvania State University is committed to and accountable for advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion in all of its forms. We embrace individual uniqueness, foster a culture of inclusive excellence that supports both broad and specific diversity initiatives, leverage the educational and institutional benefits of diversity, and engage all individuals to help them thrive. We value inclusive excellence as a core strength and an essential element of our public service mission.


Pursuant to the Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act and the Pennsylvania Act of 1988, Penn State publishes a combined Annual Security and Annual Fire Safety Report (ASR). The ASR includes crime statistics and institutional policies concerning campus security, such as those concerning alcohol and drug use, crime prevention, the reporting of crimes, sexual assault, and other matters. The ASR is available for review here.

Employment with the University will require successful completion of background check(s) in accordance with University policies.


Penn State is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, and is committed to providing employment opportunities to all qualified applicants without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability or protected veteran status. If you are unable to use our online application process due to an impairment or disability, please contact 814-865-1473.

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University Park, PA

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